Walking for exercise - is it enough?
by Alex Dreyer, Packed with Goodness Project Officer and Catalyst Dietitian
- May 31, 2021
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Not everyone loves the idea of getting dressed up in lycra at 5:30am and going for a cycle, or dealing with packed and pricey pump classes at the gym. If going for a walk feels way more your speed, we’ve got great news for you. Walking is a fantastic form of exercise that can give your physical and mental health a massive boost… and it begins right at your front door.
We’re here to walk you through;
- How much to do
- How hard it needs to be
- How to fit it into a busy schedule
You don’t have to walk 500 miles…
The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend at least 300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. But don’t let perfect get in the way of better! The more often, and the more days you choose to be active, the better for your health, and even a small walk before brekky or a quick lap around the block after work can make a big difference. Research suggests that walking just 15-20 minutes more per day reduces your risk of a serious health event by 10%, and can even reduce your risk of chronic health conditions by 25 – 30%. Walking also carries a very low injury risk, and it’s free!
Walk the line between too easy and too hard…
When it comes to exercise, you can cash in real health benefits even from increasing your heart rate just a little. While running or swimming might get you breathing hard, even a brisk walk gets your metabolism going, and uses up to 6 times as much energy as sitting on the couch. Aim to walk at a ‘moderate’ pace for best results, where your breathing is a little harder but you could hold a short conversation or sing along to your favourite exercise tunes if you wanted to.
Walk this way…
So now you know that walking is great for your health, how can you fit it into your day? The research suggests that a little exercise often during the day is potentially better for your health and wellbeing than dedicating a big part of your day to a long session. Try our tips to get more steps in just by incorporating walking into your day:
- When going to the shops, park as far away as possible. The more often you do this the better, so try it at the supermarket, kid’s sport, your weekend coffee, and at work.
- If you take public transport, get off a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way
- Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator as much as possible
- At work, walk to the furthest water cooler or bathroom, even if it is on a different floor.
- Get up to change the channel on the TV instead of using the remote
- Water your plants with a watering can instead of the hose to get some extra trips back to the tap.
- When you do have some time to make the most of your morning walk, take the family on one of these beautiful bush walk trails.
If you are looking for some other easy ways to get fit, why not check out our blog on creative ways to get moving here.